WBEZ | Illinois House of Representatives http://www.wbez.org/tags/illinois-house-representatives Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Nine Illinois lawmakers vote to fund Obama library - but only five members in attendance http://www.wbez.org/news/nine-illinois-lawmakers-vote-fund-obama-library-only-five-members-attendance-110042 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP942082181766.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois State House members are advancing a bill that would devote $100 million toward a Barack Obama presidential library. The House Executive Committee meeting in Chicago today voted, by an official tally of 9-0, to authorize using state money for the library.</p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel testified in favor of the legislation. So did representatives from several Chicago universities, including Anthony Young, who is chairman of the board at Chicago State University.</p><p>&ldquo;The legacy of President Obama has been and will continue to be one of restoring hope in America,&rdquo; Young testified. &ldquo;We feel that it&rsquo;s only fitting that the physical symbol of that legacy, his presidential library, be built in the community where his message of hope first took shape.&rdquo;</p><p>Hawaii, where Obama was born, and New York, where he went to college, also want to house the presidential library.</p><p>Nine representatives were recorded as voting for the bill, even though there were five lawmakers in attendance at the hearing. That is because Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island), who chairs the Executive Committee, employed a procedural move.</p><p>Rita used the attendance record from a previous hearing that occurred Wednesday as the vote for the presidential library cash. House Speaker Michael Madigan, who sat in on today&rsquo;s hearing, clarified Rita&rsquo;s maneuver, saying the attendance would serve as nine votes in favor of the library, even though the previous committee hearing was on a possible Chicago casino and not related to a presidential library.</p><p>No Republicans attended Thursday&rsquo;s hearing on the presidential library.</p><p>Rep. Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein) was marked as voting yes on the measure, even though he did not attend Thursday&rsquo;s hearing and was working at his non-legislative job. He had attended Wednesday&rsquo;s hearing on gambling expansion.</p><p>Sullivan said he was under the impression Thursday&rsquo;s hearing was only to hear testimony about the presidential library, and no votes would be taken.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;ve broken the trust and I think they&rsquo;ve done something illegal,&rdquo; Sullivan said of the procedural move. &ldquo;The legacy of a potential Obama library shouldn&rsquo;t start out as a result of an illegal act.&rdquo;</p><p>Sullivan said he would be filing a protest against using the attendance of Wednesday&rsquo;s hearing as the vote record in favor of state money for the library. In a phone interview, Sullivan said he wants Madigan, as the sponsor of the library bill, to table the proposal for now.</p><p>Steve Brown, a spokesman for Madigan, said it is not uncommon for committees to recess until the call of the chair. And it is within the rights of the committee chairman to use the attendance from the previous meeting as a vote.</p><p>&ldquo;The chairman asked for leave to use the attendance roll call. There was no objection and so that was the vote that will be recorded,&rdquo; Brown said.</p><p>But Sullivan said the move sets a bad precedent for what remains of the legislative session, which is scheduled to end next month.</p><p>&ldquo;It galls me. It literally galls me,&rdquo; Sullivan said. &ldquo;I guess it shouldn&rsquo;t gall me. They seem to try and do anything that they want to do in a very sneakily way.&rdquo;</p><p>Sullivan said he would support a presidential library using private money, but not public funds. He said that money is needed for education.</p><p>None of the five Democrats who attended Thursday&rsquo;s hearing spoke out against the bill that calls for $100 million of state money to go toward the potential presidential library.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nine-illinois-lawmakers-vote-fund-obama-library-only-five-members-attendance-110042 Backers of detention center bill race against clock http://www.wbez.org/news/backers-detention-center-bill-race-against-clock-99614 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Crete_protest_at_DAmico.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 238px; height: 281px;" title="Protesters at the district office of Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, demand that he back the measure. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></div><p>Supporters of an Illinois bill that would block a proposed Chicago-area immigrant detention center are racing against the clock as lawmakers try to adjourn for the summer by Thursday.</p><p>The measure, <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1064&amp;GAID=11&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;SessionID=84&amp;GA=97">SB1064</a>, would ban government agencies at the local and state level from contracting with private firms to construct or run civil detention centers. It would broaden a decades-old Illinois ban on privately built or operated state prisons and county jails.</p><p>It would also scuttle a proposal for south suburban Crete to contract with Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America to build and run a 788-bed facility that would hold detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.</p><p>The Senate approved the bill March 28. The House Executive Committee followed suit May 2. Gov. Pat Quinn&rsquo;s office said he would sign the measure if it reached his desk.</p><p>But the bill&rsquo;s House sponsors, led by Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), have not lined up the 60 votes they would need to ensure a win on the floor of their chamber.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re close,&rdquo; said Fred Tsao, policy director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, who is lobbying for the measure.</p><p>The bill could get caught in a legislative logjam as lawmakers try to pass a state budget and get out of Springfield. The measure is also hitting some turbulence that crosses party lines. Some House members say they&rsquo;ll oppose anything in the way of tougher immigration enforcement. Others are wary of upsetting unions whose members could help build and operate the Crete facility.</p><p>John Scheidt, president of the Will and Grundy County Building Trades Council, testified before the House committee that the project would bring 200 permanent jobs. &ldquo;That would be almost $12 million in annual payroll that would be generated out of this facility,&rdquo; Scheidt said.</p><p>Tsao&rsquo;s group helped organize a protest late Friday at the district office of Rep. John D&rsquo;Amico (D-Chicago), who accepts a lot of campaign funding from building-trades unions. &ldquo;He told us in Springfield he opposes the bill because the project is a jobs generator,&rdquo; Tsao said.</p><p>D&rsquo;Amico did not return calls about the measure.</p><p>Crete officials have yet to approve the detention center but have touted the jobs as well as tax benefits and expected per-detainee payments to the village.</p><p>Those officials have gotten an earful from some Crete residents convinced that the facility would drag down their property values and stretch village resources. They&rsquo;ve aligned with immigrant advocates who say CCA treats its detainees and workers poorly &mdash; a claim disputed by the company. The immigrant advocates also see the detention center as part of an enforcement push that has led to record numbers of deportations.</p><p>Crete residents almost got a chance to question immigration officials at a town-hall meeting that Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Luis Gutierrez were planning to host May 21 in a local school. But officials called off the gathering just hours in advance due to security concerns related to the NATO summit, they said. Rick Bryant, a Jackson aide, says the congressman&rsquo;s office is talking with ICE in hopes of setting a June date for the meeting.</p></p> Tue, 29 May 2012 12:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/backers-detention-center-bill-race-against-clock-99614 House committee passes bill blocking Crete detention center http://www.wbez.org/news/house-committee-passes-bill-blocking-crete-detention-center-98754 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Cretemarch3.jpg" style="float: left; width: 317px; height: 288px;" title="Village resident Dan Taylor stands on the site of the proposed facility, which would hold detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (WBEZ/Charlie Billups)"></div><p>A bill that would block a proposed immigrant detention center in south suburban Crete cleared another Illinois legislative hurdle Wednesday. The House Executive Committee approved the measure with a 7-4 vote, which could set up a debate on the House floor.</p><p>The bill, <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1064&amp;GAID=11&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;SessionID=84&amp;GA=97">SB1064</a>, would make Illinois one of the nation’s first states to ban local governments and state agencies from contracting with private firms to build or run civil detention centers. Sponsored by Reps. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago) and Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero), it would broaden an Illinois law banning privately built or operated state prisons and county jails.</p><p>The committee vote followed about 15 minutes of discussion. Rep. Michael Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) said he supported the bill because of excess capacity in a few Illinois prisons and detention centers. “I feel that a good use of these facilities may in fact be a contract with the U.S. Marshals and [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] for a detainment center in communities that want them.” Tryon said. “I certainly would encourage our governor’s office to look at use of our facilities before we allow construction of a new facility.”</p><p>The only speaker who voiced opposition to the bill was John Scheidt, president of the Will and Grundy County Building Trades Council, who said the Crete project would bring 200 permanent jobs. “That would be almost $12 million in annual payroll that would be generated out of this facility,” Scheidt said.</p><p>The 788-bed center would hold ICE detainees. To build and run it, that federal agency would contract with Crete, which would contract with Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America. Village officials have touted the project’s expected jobs and tax benefits but have yet to approve the facility.</p><p>Some village residents say the detention center would hurt their community. They’re working with immigrant advocates who say CCA treats its detainees and workers poorly. The company disputes that claim.</p><p>The bill could become a model for opponents of privately run detention centers in other states. But supporters of the legislation acknowledge that Illinois could not stop the federal government from contracting directly with private entities to build or run a detention center in the state.</p><p>The Senate approved the bill in a 34-17 vote March 28. In the House, some Republicans who support tough immigration enforcement have vowed to fight the measure. Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has not announced a position on it.</p></p> Wed, 02 May 2012 17:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/house-committee-passes-bill-blocking-crete-detention-center-98754 After fraud search, Illinois House challenger concedes defeat http://www.wbez.org/news/after-fraud-search-illinois-house-challenger-concedes-defeat-98719 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Guzzardi2scaled.jpg" style="margin: 6px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 295px; height: 196px;" title="Will Guzzardi prepares volunteers Sunday night for a canvass of 39th&nbsp;District voters. He lost a March&nbsp;20 primary to incumbent Rep. Toni Berrios, D-Chicago. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></div><p>Six weeks since the Illinois primary, a Democratic challenger who tried to unseat a clout-heavy state House member on Chicago’s Northwest Side is finally conceding defeat.</p><p>Political newcomer Will Guzzardi came within 125 votes of Rep. Maria Antonia “Toni” Berrios, who has held the 39th&nbsp;District seat for five terms. He alleged irregularities with the March 20 balloting and mounted an extraordinary <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/door-knockers-seek-fraud-illinois-house-race-98650">search for fraud</a>.</p><p>But Guzzardi did not file a complaint with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners or contest the results in Cook County Circuit Court. The deadline for the court challenge was Monday afternoon.</p><p>“Our attorney has indicated that [our evidence] is probably not enough to sustain a formal legal complaint,” Guzzardi wrote in a Tuesday message to his supporters. “I am formally conceding the election. I’d like to congratulate Representative Berrios.”</p><p>Guzzardi told WBEZ his showing in the race means something: “The machine isn’t invincible. Right up to Election Day, people thought we were foolish for even trying to take it on. The close result proves that organized people and organized communities can stand up to entrenched power.”</p><p>The Berrios campaign has bristled at suggestions that she depended on help she received from Democratic leaders such as her father, Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, who chairs the party’s county organization. “If [Guzzardi] wanted to run against the machine, he should have run against Joe,” Berrios spokesman Manuel Galvan said on Election Night.</p><p>Guzzardi, 25, said he would consider running for office again. After campaigning full-time for seven months, however, the Brown University graduate said his immediate task was lining up a job.</p><p>“All the issues we raised in the campaign — schools, the economy, foreclosures, government reform — are still pressing,” Guzzardi said. “I want to keep working on them.”</p></p> Tue, 01 May 2012 15:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/after-fraud-search-illinois-house-challenger-concedes-defeat-98719 Door knockers seek fraud in Illinois House race http://www.wbez.org/news/door-knockers-seek-fraud-illinois-house-race-98650 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Guzzardi1CROPSCALEsmaller.jpg" style="height: 249px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Will Guzzardi prepares volunteers Sunday night for their canvass of voters in District 39. He lost a March 20 primary to incumbent Rep. Toni Berrios, D-Chicago, by 125 votes. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></div><p>After an extraordinary search for fraud, the losing candidate in an Illinois House primary last month says he is considering a last-minute legal challenge to expose “corruption” tied to one of the state’s strongest political chiefs.</p><p>Monday is the last day for 39th District challenger Will Guzzardi to file a petition in Cook County Circuit Court to contest his March 20 loss to Rep. Maria Antonia “Toni” Berrios (D-Chicago), who won by 125 votes, or 1.58 percent, of the 7,917 ballots cast.</p><p>The Guzzardi campaign alleges more than a half dozen Election Day irregularities, including a missing precinct voter list, a poll that opened nearly an hour late and inappropriate contact between Berrios operatives and voters. A discovery recount, Guzzardi adds, turned up too many ballot application signatures that don’t resemble what appears on voter registrations.</p><p>On Sunday night, Guzzardi sent out five volunteers to finish a door-to-door canvass to see if those voters cast the ballots. “We want to make sure that voters in this district [and] people around the city can have faith in the election so we can make sure that elections represent the will of the people,” Guzzardi said.</p><p>Berrios spokesman Manuel Galvan said her campaign would not comment unless Guzzardi made his complaints formal.</p><p>“Will has been making these allegations since the election but has never filed them with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, which is what you would do if you had allegations that you were able to substantiate,” Galvan said.</p><p>Board spokesman Jim Allen said door-to-door canvasses seeking signs of election fraud are rare. “I’ve never heard of it in my six years with the board,” Allen said.</p><p>The district includes parts of several Northwest Side neighborhoods, including Logan Square, Hermosa and Belmont Cragin. Berrios has represented it since 2003.</p><p>The Guzzardi campaign has aimed much of its criticism at her father, Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, who is the county’s Democratic chair and the longtime committeeman of Chicago’s 31st Ward, which covers much of the district. Powerful committeemen often have some influence over the election judges in their ward.</p></p> Mon, 30 Apr 2012 09:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/door-knockers-seek-fraud-illinois-house-race-98650 Senate OKs bill blocking Crete detention center http://www.wbez.org/story/senate-oks-bill-blocking-crete-detention-center-97714 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-28/CCA facility in New Jersey SCALED.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Illinois Senate on Wednesday approved a bill aimed at blocking an immigrant detention center proposed for south suburban Crete, but the measure could face rougher going in the House.</p><p>Passed by a 34-17 vote, SB1064 would make Illinois one of the nation’s first states to ban local governments and state agencies from contracting with private companies to build or run civil detention centers. The measure would expand a state law banning privately constructed or operated state prisons and county jails.</p><p>The proposal in Crete is for the village to contract with Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America to build and run a 788-bed facility that would hold U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees.</p><p>Crete officials have talked up the project’s expected jobs and tax benefits but have yet to approve the facility. Some village residents are rallying against it, saying it would hurt their community. The residents have aligned with immigrant-rights advocates who say CCA has provided poor conditions for its ICE detainees in other parts of the country.</p><p>“When you introduce the profit motive into corrections and detention, what you end up doing is ratcheting down conditions for detainees and for workers,” said Fred Tsao, policy director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which is pushing the bill. ICIRR last year shepherded into law a measure that set up a state commission to oversee privately funded college scholarships for undocumented immigrants.</p><p>CCA disputes criticism about its detainee treatment. On its website, the company says its employees adhere “to the highest standards in corrections.”</p><p>Crete Village Administrator Tom Durkin said he hadn’t seen the Senate bill and declined to comment.</p><p>An ICE spokesman said his agency does not comment on proposed legislation.</p><p>Tsao acknowledged that Illinois would not be able to stop the federal government from contracting with private entities to build or run a detention center in the state. “What Illinois can do,” he said, “is control what the state itself does and what its political subdivisions — counties, townships and municipalities — do.”</p><p>In the House, the bill’s prospects are unclear.</p><p>“It’ll have difficulty if it ties the hands of the federal government in enforcing immigration law,” said Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley). Pritchard voted against the scholarships measure.</p><p>Rep. Randy Ramey (R-Carol Stream) said the detention-center bill sounded like a bad idea. He vowed to help lead House opposition to it and predicted that many downstate Democrats would be on his side. Last year Ramey introduced an ill-fated bill modeled after a controversial Arizona crackdown on undocumented immigrants.</p><p>House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) “probably has no position on the bill yet,” his spokesman Steve Brown said after the Senate vote. “I haven’t heard it discussed.”</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn’s office said he would not take a stand until the measure reached his desk. “It still has to go through the House,” Quinn aide Annie Thompson pointed out. “The governor will have to take a look at the bill he receives.”</p></p> Thu, 29 Mar 2012 22:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/senate-oks-bill-blocking-crete-detention-center-97714 Extra pay, not always extra work, for lawmakers http://www.wbez.org/story/extra-pay-not-always-extra-work-lawmakers-96697 <p><p>Lawmakers in the Illinois House earned about $661,000 last year in extra pay for serving as officers of various House committees--from armed forces to biotechnology--even though some committees met fewer than five times and a handful met only once.&nbsp;</p><p>The House pays members who serve as committee chairmen and minority spokesmen $10,326 apiece in addition to their $67,836 salaries. The House operated 46 committees last year with more than a dozen subcommittees, a structure that allows more than half of House members to earn the stipend. Even the state House in New York, with nearly twice Illinois’ population, operates fewer committees at 37. The Illinois Senate relies on 28 committees.</p><p>The House committee system provides a glimpse into state government operations and reveals one way in which House Speaker Michael Madigan, Democrat of Chicago, builds loyalty among his members, who control the House by a 64-54 margin.&nbsp; Madigan not only chooses committee chairmen, he approves the creation of new committees, his office sets committee schedules , and he can steer the agenda by controlling which committees hear which bills.</p><p>Like many speakers around the country, Madigan makes committee assignments based on seniority, lawmakers said. House Democrats starting their third terms are routinely given chairmanships. The large number of committees is due, partly, to that practice. A big freshmen class requires the need for more committees four years later.</p><p>Overall, House committees averaged eight meetings annually during the last three years. Some met regularly but others convened only once or twice in those years, according to thousands of pages of committee schedules and cancellations from 2009, 2010 and 2011 obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.</p><p>“I don’t know that there’s a hard and fast rule about committee workloads,” Madigan’s spokesman, Steve Brown, said. “If you only meet once, I’m not sure why that would be viewed as wrong. Committees meet as bills are introduced and assigned.” &nbsp;</p><p>Records show that five House committees met three times or less last year: adoption reform, chaired by Representative Sara Feigenholtz; international trade and commerce, headed by Representative Jack Franks; biotechnology, overseen by Representative Edward Acevedo; armed forces and military affairs, chaired by Representative Eddie Lee Jackson; and tourism and conventions, overseen by Representative Kenneth Dunkin.</p><p>Feigenholtz, Franks and Dunkin also headed&nbsp;second committees with heavier workloads. They were not paid two stipends.</p><p>In 2009 and 2010, more than 20 committees met three times or less.</p><p>That compares to the busiest committees, which in 2011 was revenue and finance, chaired by Representative John Bradley. The committee met 25 times, according to the records.</p><p>Dunkin said his tourism committee didn’t require many meetings last year, but his appropriation-higher education committee demanded considerable time.</p><p>“I have no interest in taking advantage of the system,” he said. “All of us down here, we’re not hustling the system. I’ve spent a ton of hours on my appropriations committee. I disagree that tourism only met one time. We met three or four times. With tourism, there just aren’t that many bills. That’s just the way it is.”</p><p>In additional to international trade and commerce, Franks last year headed the panel that deals with state government administration, one of the more active committeesin the House. He said committee work is part of the job, and the stipends for serving as chairmen and minority spokesmen allow Madigan to steer extra pay toward lawmakers.</p><p>“I think it’s a way to get more money to members of the General Assembly without having to increase salaries,” Franks said. “That’s what it’s designed to do. If we’re honest with taxpayers, the more honest thing would be to vote to raise salaries.”</p><p>In 2009 and 2010, the biotech committee chaired by Representative Maria Antonia Berrios met a total of four times.&nbsp;She was not heading other committees at the time, records show. Retired Representative&nbsp;Careen Gordon’s only committee, computer technology, met twice in 2010, as did Representative&nbsp;Esther Golar’s disability services committee, the only panel she chaired that year, according to the records.</p><p>House Republicans earn the extra pay as well. The minority spokesperson position on each committee is held by a Republican. Two committees, pensions investments and veterans affairs, are chaired by Republicans.</p><p>Madigan creates new committees based in part on members’ personal interests. That’s how the railroads industry committee started, chaired by Representative&nbsp;Elaine Nekritz.</p><p>“I was in a class of 35 people,” said Nekritz, who was elected in 2002. &nbsp;“So by the time the speaker went through the seniority system, there wasn’t really one left. He asked me if there was a subject area I was interested in, and I told him railroads. Then, later, I took over judiciary.”</p><p>The number of House committees climbed to 56 in 2009, dropped to 53 in 2010 and fell to 46 last year.</p><p>In 29 states, lawmakers do not earn extra pay for committee work. Ten states pay committee chairmen extra, ranging from an $18 per diem in Kentucky to $34,000 for certain committee posts in New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.</p><p>Representative Will Davis oversees the appropriations-elementary and secondary education committee, which met&nbsp;13 times last year, and the less-active health and healthcare disparities panel, which met&nbsp;five times. He asked Madigan to form the healthcare disparities committee to address growing concern over health care delivery.</p><p>“He allows members the opportunity to create their own committees,” Davis said. “My committee doesn’t see a lot of bills, but we’ve had many subject-matter hearings, and I’ve asked for certain bills to be assigned to it.”</p><p>Some lawmakers said the number of committees can complicate their schedules. A single member might be assigned to seven or more with overlapping meeting times.</p><p>“I couldn’t even call my own bills today because too many members were running to other committees,”Franks said of his government administration committee meeting. “We could certainly cut down the number of committees.”</p></p> Fri, 24 Feb 2012 12:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/extra-pay-not-always-extra-work-lawmakers-96697 State lawmakers push for tax relief package http://www.wbez.org/story/state-lawmakers-push-tax-relief-package-93780 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-04/P1040013.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Legislative leaders in Illinois are trying to put together a tax relief package to keep some big companies in Illinois.</p><p>They have until Thursday to pass a bill that could give more tax incentives to companies like Sears and Chicago-based CME Group, which have threatened to leave the state since the corproate tax increase went into effect at the beginning of this year.</p><p>Senate President John Cullerton says he'll meet with his fellow Democrats early this week to outline some points leaders of both Democrat and Republican leaders say they want included in the package. Cullerton says the final deal should include tax breaks for both businesses and individuals.</p><p>"We need a more progressive tax system," said Cullerton, "so those principles will all need to be embodied in a bill, and we're working on those negotiations."</p><p>Cullerton and other legislative leaders met with the governor twice last week to discuss the potential tax package.</p><p>Week two of the veto session is scheduled to begin Tuesday.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 04 Nov 2011 21:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/state-lawmakers-push-tax-relief-package-93780 Chicago Democrats clash over Illinois House seat http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-democrats-clash-over-illinois-house-seat-87408 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-03/MendozaCityHallcrop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A top Chicago official is criticizing the way her party is filling her former Illinois House seat.<br> <br> Susana Mendoza resigned as District 1 representative last month to become city clerk. To replace her, the district’s Democratic ward committeemen chose Chicago police Sgt. Dena Carli.<br> <br> Party insiders say the plan is for Carli to exit the seat this summer, once a long-term replacement establishes residency in the district, which spans parts of several Southwest Side neighborhoods, including Little Village, Brighton Park and Gage Park.<br> <br> The sources say Carli’s replacement will be Silvana Tabares, a former editor of the bilingual weekly newspaper Extra. Tabares graduated last year from the leadership academy of the United Neighborhood Organization, a clout-heavy Latino group.<br> <br> UNO chief Juan Rangel says he doesn’t know anything about the plan but praises Tabares. “She would be, by far, the best candidate to fill the seat,” Rangel says.<br> <br> Mendoza doesn’t think so. She pushed for her replacement to be Evelyn Rodríguez, an aide to U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Illinois.<br> <br> “Neither Carli nor Tabares is qualified,” Mendoza says. “The citizens and the residents of the First District were completely shortchanged in this process.”<br> <br> The Illinois constitution requires state lawmakers to live in their district for two years before their election or appointment.<br> <br> Tabares, listed at 4335 S. Spaulding Ave., says she’s lived in the district for “about two years” but claims she can’t remember the month she moved in.<br> <br> Tabares says she’s eager to serve in the seat but says she knows nothing about the plan for her to take it. She referred WBEZ questions about the plan to two of the committeemen: Chicago Ald. Ed Burke, Ward 14, and State Sen. Tony Muñoz, District 1.<br> <br> Burke and Muñoz didn’t return the station’s calls about the seat. Neither did Carli.</p></p> Fri, 03 Jun 2011 21:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-democrats-clash-over-illinois-house-seat-87408 Quinn focused on 'fair' Illinois redistricting map http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-focused-fair-illinois-redistricting-map-86839 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20100430_shudzik_714110_Comp_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn says he's focused on making sure&nbsp;Illinois gets political redistricting maps that are "fair and&nbsp;square."</p><p>The Chicago Democrat made his comments Friday as lawmakers&nbsp;awaited details on new maps for Illinois House and congressional&nbsp;districts. Senate Democrats have already proposed new districts&nbsp;that throw some incumbent Republicans into the same territory and&nbsp;will cost them their seats.</p><p>In response to questions about criticism raised by Republicans, Quinn said, "Americans believe in competition, we believe in competition between businesses because that's the best way to get the best price. We believe in political competition - that's what democracy is all about. So having a fair mapping of the districts of Illinois is as American as apple pie."</p><p>Illinois House Republican leader Tom Cross said Friday that hard&nbsp;feelings over Democrat-led redistricting will complicate the final&nbsp;days of the legislative session where lawmakers still have a lot of&nbsp;work to do.</p><p>Democrats are in control because they control the Illinois&nbsp;House, Senate and governorship. Democrats are rushing to approve&nbsp;the maps by May 31. Hearings on the proposed maps will be held over&nbsp;the weekend in Chicago and next week in Springfield. Chicago hearings will be held at the Michael A. Bilandic building at noon on Saturday for the Senate and at 2pm on Sunday for the House. Those interested in testifying are expected to send early notice.</p><p>Quinn urges all those with an opinion on the subject to attend.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 20 May 2011 19:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-focused-fair-illinois-redistricting-map-86839